Global Outlook :: Digital Humanities and International Partnerships

My post last week on Digital Humanities in a global context (In a Rich Man’s World) was derived from a proposal to the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations for a new Special Interest Group devoted to global development issues as they are associated with the Digital Humanities: Global Outlook :: Digital Humanities (GO::DH). I’ve had enough requests from people for the actual proposal, that I thought I’d link to it here (PDF). I’m also pleased (and very grateful) to say that the initiative has also just received funding from the University of Lethbridge through its International Initiatives programme to help get it set up and running. We hope to be arranging our first events very soon.

This is going to be an important area of activity, both within and without the proposed SIG. THaT Camp Caribe is being held this week at the University of Puerto Rico. INKE will be holding its 2012 meeting in Havana, partially out of an interest in these same ideas (Research Foundations for Understanding Books and Reading in the Digital Age: E/Merging Reading, Writing, and Research Practices).

In keeping with my theory that a major feature of the new Digital research climate is the convergence of disciplines, Michael Sinatra has also just called my attention to a new programme by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) “to invest up to $12.5 million in the International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies (IPaSS).”

This a great looking programme, and one that is, albeit in a more general way, touches quite closely on the GO::DH aims and practices:

This new seven-year initiative will bring Canadian researchers and their peers in low- or middle-income countries together to work on issues of mutual interest.  IPaSS partnerships will transcend national boundaries and facilitate collaboration between researchers and students and public, private, or civil society organizations.

As globalization, new communication technologies, climate change, and other forces reshape societies, Canada and the world face social, economic, and environmental opportunities and challenges.

“Science and research are public goods,” said IDRC President David Malone.  “In an era of globalization, it’s critical that knowledge on issues like the economy, green growth, and technology be explored and shared across borders so that we might build safer, healthier, and more  equitable societies.”

“The knowledge generated by this new international collaboration will deepen our understanding of important global issues and will highlight the contributions of social sciences and humanities research to developing solutions that benefit all sectors of society in Canada and around the world,” said SSHRC President Chad Gaffield.

IPaSS will support strategic research in four areas:

  • Information and Networks: The digital revolution, characterized by the widespread use of mobile technology and the internet in the developing world, has created opportunities for disadvantaged communities to improve learning outcomes, benefit from greater government openness and accountability and create new economic prospects.   Researchers will work to develop understanding of how accelerated advances in networked technologies, will transform governance, science, learning and livelihoods.
  • Inclusive Growth: Despite overall economic growth and fewer people living in poverty, growth has not always led to better jobs or to increased income opportunities for the poor. Researchers will seek to develop policies and practices that create decent jobs and encourage the development of enterprises, particularly for women and young people.
  • Governance, Security, and Justice: As some 1.5 billion people live in areas affected by violent conflict and organized crime, researchers will help States and societies build secure, equitable, and responsive societies.
  • Green Growth: At a time when the global economy and climate change top policy agendas around the globe, researchers will deepen understanding how societies can spur economic growth in a way that simultaneously promotes environmental sustainability.


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